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by Paul Shock

My group and I (four people in total) arrived around five, just so we'd give ourselves plenty of time. We had dinner and, well, loitered in a McDonald's for about an hour, and then headed into Copps Coliseum. Our seats were in the upper deck, but close to the stage; if the arena was a clock (with the back of the stage being 12), then we were about halfway between two and three.

Garbage opened; I have to say I liked them a bit more than I liked PJ Harvey in Toronto last May. Nothing against PJ, but I'm kind of a Garbage fan (their first album was terrific) and thus the recognition factor was in full effect. Their performance was very good; unlike PJ in Toronto, Garbage were given the privilege of getting their faces on the screens. More footage of Shirley Manson = hooray for everything. Even when she dresses somewhat androgyneous, Shirley is still a babe. She made a comment about how they had a special bond with Hamilton because she has family in Hamilton...Scotland. How clever. The setlist was: Push It, Special, I Think I'm Paranoid, New Song, New Song, #1 Crush, Stupid Girl, Androgeny, New Song, Only Happy When It Rains, Cherry Lips

Now, it was time for the main event. A few Beatles songs played on the PA system beforehand (All You Need Is Love; Sgt. Pepper's LHCB), and this clued in the crowd that something was about to happen. When U2 came on-stage, the entire place just went ballistic. Copps Coliseum is not very large (maybe 10,000-15,000 people), and thus the sound from the crowd and the band was deafening all night long.

At this point, I would write up a list of highlights from the show, but I'll just save time by saying that there were no lowlights, or even, uh, middlelights.

There were six changes from the Toronto setlist, which was nice; ISHFWILF, Out of Control, New Year's Day, Angel of Harlem, People Get Ready and What's Going On replaced Discotheque, Stay, In A Little While, I Will Follow, The Fly and Mysterious Ways. My idiot friend spent the whole ride home bitching that Mysterious Ways didn't get played, but that was a minor quibble for me. I just wanted to see a few different songs than I saw in Toronto, but hell...U2 could've played B-sides all night, and I still would've loved it.

The comic highlight of the night was definitely the lucky guy that got up on stge and got to sing/play with the band. At one point, Bono and Edge left him standing at the tip of the heart, and the guy suddenly noticed they were walking away and hurried to catch up.

The entire encore was so emotional. The woman standing next to me was crying through the whole thing. I have never been a big fan of the song 'New York,' but that changed after tonight.

All in all, it was as close to a perfect show as you could possibly get. Thanks to U2 for such an amazing show.

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